Bosnia: ECtHR Sees Problems With Democracy In Elections

According to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina are not democratic.

This stems from the political system that provides a privileged position for “systemically important ethnic groups, i.e., Bosnians, Croats, and Serbs.” The verdict came after an appeal by a citizen who stated that it was impossible to vote for his chosen candidates “due to a combination of territorial and ethnic requirements applicable to legislative and presidential elections,” as reported by the Italian news agency ANSA.

Bosnia and Herzegovina has been formally one of the EU candidate countries since December last year. However, to get the green light for joining the group of 27 countries, Sarajevo will have to start deep reforms.

Such a process will not be easy and probably not quick: in recent days, the EU has explained that it has “expressed regrets” on the enactment of amendments to the Criminal Code of the Republic of Serbia (Republika Srpska of Bosnia and Herzegovina, one of the two constituent entities of the country) concerning criminal penalties for defamation. These changes, according to Brussels, “impose unnecessary and disproportionate restrictions on independent media and civil society.” The charge itself concerns the restriction of freedom of speech.